ABC suspends Whoopi Goldberg from US show for Holocaust comments

Goldberg had said the Nazi genocide of six million Jews was ‘not about race’, prompting widespread condemnation.

Whoopi Goldberg
US actor Whoopi Goldberg has been suspended following comments she made about the Holocaust [File: Carolyn Kaster/The Associated Press]

United States actor Whoopi Goldberg has been suspended for two weeks from the ABC network show she hosts following controversial comments she made about the Holocaust.

Goldberg, who co-hosts “The View” talk show, had previously apologised on the programme for saying the Nazi genocide of six million Jews between 1941 and 1945 was “not about race”.

However, ABC News President Kim Godwin on Tuesday said the apology was not enough.

“Effective immediately, I am suspending Whoopi Goldberg for two weeks for her wrong and hurtful comments,” Godwin said in a statement posted on the TV channel’s public relations Twitter account.

“While Whoopi has apologised, I’ve asked her to take time to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments.”

Goldberg had said in an earlier discussion on the “The View” that the Holocaust was “white people doing it to white people, so y’all going to fight amongst yourselves”.

“It’s not about race. It’s about man’s inhumanity to man. That’s what it’s about,” she said.

Jewish groups quickly condemned the statements as dangerously misrepresenting the fact that Nazis viewed themselves as the master race and saw Jews as an inferior race.

“No Whoopi Goldberg, the Holocaust was about the Nazis’ systematic annihilation of the Jewish people – who they deemed to be an inferior race,” Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, said on Twitter in response to the comments.

“They dehumanized them and used this racist propaganda to justify slaughtering 6 million Jews. Holocaust distortion is dangerous”, he said.

Beyond her apology on “The View” Goldberg had earlier sought to apologise on Twitter and on a separate late-night talk show.

“On today’s show, I said the Holocaust ‘is not about race, but about man’s inhumanity to man’. I should have said it is about both,” Goldberg wrote on Monday.

“The Jewish people around the world have always had my support and that will never waiver. I’m sorry for the hurt I have caused,” the 66-year-old added.

On Tuesday, the Washington, DC-based US Holocaust Museum wrote on Twitter: “Jews were not defined by religion, but by race. Nazi racist beliefs fueled genocide and mass murder.”

The museum did not specifically reference Goldberg, who had made the inflammatory comments during a discussion of a Tennessee school moving to ban the 1986 graphic novel “Maus: A Survivor’s Tale”, which is about life at the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp in Poland.

Goldberg, who is one of just 16 entertainers in the world to have won an Emmy Award, a Grammy Award, an Acadamy Award and a Tony Award, has been criticised for controversial positions in the past, including for defending comedian Bill Cosby as he faced dozens of sexual abuse allegations.

She later changed her stance on Cosby.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies